UNESCO Transcultura programme supports Caribbean musicians at World Music Exhibition (WOMEX) 2021

The UNESCO Transcultura Programme: Integrating Cuba, the Caribbean and the European Union through Culture and Creativity, an initiative funded by the European Union and jointly implemented by UNESCO Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean, and several institutions in Cuba and the Caribbean, sponsored four groups of talented young musicians from the Caribbean to participate in the World Music Exhibition (WOMEX), whose 21st edition took place in Porto (Portugal) from 27 to 31 October 2021.
Azueï, Blvk H3ro & Reggae Soul Band, Yarima Blanco y Son Latino and Cimafunk were the four groups selected by the WOMEX jury to participate in the event and perform following a Call for sponsorship of WOMEX application fees for Caribbean musicians and music professionals launched by UNESCO in March 2021.
It is a huge and meaningful opportunity for us to be able to present our work on such a large platform as WOMEX, which is, for several days, the epicenter of a worldwide exchange among different music expressions. We would like to thank UNESCO and the European Union for opening this door for us
said Yarima Blanco, musician and director of “Yarima Blanco y Son Latino”.

The UNESCO Call resulted in the highest participation ever of the region´s artists in the application process. 58 groups from 9 countries in the Caribbean (Barbados, Belize, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago), involving 317 artists in total, submitted their proposals with the support of the Transcultura Programme.

UNESCO also organized a panel discussion at WOMEX on “Harnessing Culture for Sustainable Development”. Bringing together representatives of three EU-funded programmes concerning the Caribbean (Transcultura, Procultura and ACP-EU Culture), and with the participation of Ms Annica Floren, representing the Directorate-General for International Partnerships of the European Commission, the discussion showed how, despite the shifts in the national, regional and global dynamics of culture brought about by COVID-19, culture and creativity have kept alive and have proven to be powerful sources of resilience, social cohesion, innovation and recovery.

The UNESCO programme Transcultura: integrating Cuba, the Caribbean and the European Union through Culture and Creativity is supported by the European Union. This four-year initiative was launched in 2020, targeting 17 countries in the Caribbean and aimed at supporting the professionalization of the cultural and creative sectors in the region, as well as creating opportunities for young cultural professionals, through knowledge transfer, exchanges and market access. With a budget of 15 M EUR, it is the largest-scale UNESCO programme in Latin America and the Caribbean.